MATTAVĀRAṆĪ FROM ELLORA CAVE

          We know the parts above the pillar in a temple structure are Uttara, Vājana, Valabhi and Kapota. The combination of the above parts is called as Prastara varga. The Valabhi is an important component in the above where Bhūtamālā, haṃsamālā or siṃhamālā is usually projected. The synonym of this element is explained in Mānasāra.

गोपानं च वितानं च वलभी मत्तवारणम्

विधानं च लुपं चैवमेते पर्यायवाचकाः ।। मानसारः 16. १०

          Gopāna, Vitāna, Valabhī, Mattavāraṇa, Vidhāna and Lupa are the synonyms according to this scripture. Mattavāraṇi is explained as one among the synonyms. Since this portion looks like the forehead of an elephant in rut, this is named so.

          Nāṭyaśāstra too explains the measurements of Mattavāraṇī. The second chapter which gives the same while explaining the measurement of a stage.

रङ्गपीठस्य पार्श्वे तु कर्तव्या मत्तवारणी ॥ ६३॥

चतुस्तम्भसमायुक्ता रङ्गपीठप्रमाणतः ।

अध्यर्धहस्तोत्सेधेन कर्तव्या मत्तवारणी ॥ ६४॥

          The Mattavāraṇī should be built adjacent to the stage. The Mattavāraṇi will have four pillars and will have the same measurement as that of stage (Raṅgapīṭha).The height of the Mattavāraṇī  will be of 1½ hands. The commentary Abhinavabhāratī further states that the length of the Mattavāraṇi will be of 8 hands and it should be square in shape. The first chapter gives the details of the persons who were assigned duty to protect the Mattavāraṇi.

स्थापिता मत्तवारण्यां विद्युद्दैत्यनिषूदनी  ९०

          The vidyut (goddess lightening) is assigned to protect the Mattavāraṇi. The third chapter gives the procedure to worship the Mattavāraṇī.

          Samarāṅgaṇa sūtradhāra too mentions Mattavāraṇī along with its dimension in many types of building.

          Such a Mattavāraṇi can be seen in cave no 32 of Ellora. It is places above the Mukhamaṇḍapa. To denote the element, elephants are shown very beautifully. A Mithuna(couple) is also depicted at the centre. Kakṣāsana is placed above the Mattavāraṇi. The Mattavāraṇi seems to be of 1½ hands height as prescribed in Nāṭyaśāstra.

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